If you missed the Monday or Tuesday emails for John 15:5, you can click here (scroll down after clicking to read them).
🍇 What kind of fruit are we talking about?
👂️ A form of prayer to try this week
🎙️ Resources to help you abide in the vine
🧠 A brilliant quote from C.S. Lewis
see if you know what words go in the blanks
I __ ___ ____; you ___ ___ ________.
Whoever ______ __ __ and I __ ___, __ __ __ that bears much _____, for apart from me you can do _______.
(Answer key below. You can also use our free web app to memorize in your favorite translation. Set up instructions are linked at the bottom of this email.)
🍇 What kind of fruit is Jesus talking about?
Jesus says the word fruit 8 times in John 15:1-17, including:
“By this my father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (v8)
“…I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide..” (v16)
Repetition + Jesus’ final words to his disciples = this is important.
In this passage, we can see that bearing fruit:
But what is this ‘fruit’ Jesus is talking about?
Throughout the New Testament, fruit generally refers to:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
..so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
In other words, fruit represents an inner transformation (character) that naturally leads to external actions aligned with the mission of God (good works).
🌿 We Aren’t the Only Ones Abiding
Immediately before the verse we’re memorizing, Jesus says 2 incredible things:
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
This is the beautiful rhythm of the gospel. ✝️
God doesn’t ask something of us only to give us nothing return.
God gave Himself fully for us on the cross. And He gave us His Spirit to dwell within us.
What he’s asking us to do is simply to stay connected to him.
This is why the gospel alone has the power to transform us.
The way of Jesus is internal transformation via invitation, not external change via coercion.
Apply & respond: Listening Prayer 👂️
When it comes to prayer, it’s easy to feel like it’s a one-way street, where we do all the talking.
But all healthy relationships involve both speaking AND listening.
Today, let’s practice what’s called “listening prayer.” Set aside 7-10 minutes of quiet time for this today.
💡 Note: If it’s difficult, keep trying. This takes practice.
Listening prayer = sitting in stillness and silence, listening for God’s voice.
Here’s an example of how it can work:
Take 3 deeps breaths to clear your thoughts. Read John 15:1-5.
Ask God to be with you in the silence and to speak to your heart.
Sit in silence for 3 minutes and listen for God.
When your mind wanders (it will), gently acknowledge the distraction and return your attention to your breath.
After 3 minutes, write down anything you think God placed on your heart.
Share it with a trusted friend and test it against Scripture.
Bonus points: Invite a friend or family member to do this at the same time as you.
Talk about your experiences: what was that like for you?
Here are a few resources to help you dig deeper into this week’s passage:
🎙️ Tim Keller Sermon: ‘I am the Vine’ (link here)
🎵 John 15:5 by the Verses Project to help you memorize (listen on Spotify | listen on Apple Music)
📚️ How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People by Pete Greig (link here)
📕 The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Great little book for how to abide during everyday life (link here)
📱 If you like apps, the Pause App is free and has guided audio to help you simply “be with Jesus” (link here)
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house.
At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.
But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to?
The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but he is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself.”
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Have a great Wednesday! 🐫
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